Many different groups have espoused the benefits of exposure to nature. Business Insider recently highlighted benefits ranging from increased focus and visual acuity to reduced risk of early death (!). In discussing the how to incorporate the different facets of health into public spaces, the notion of creating multi-denominational spiritual spaces came up. One of the best ways to do that with sensitivity is through the human experience of nature. This allows for ascribed meaning to occur without needing iconography or other symbols specific to one denomination or another.
I recently wrote about Sacred Spaces for Culture Keeper, saying our perception of space happens, “At the intersection of sociology and geography, a space becomes a place through the meaning conferred on it by human interaction. This interaction happens both intentionally—in the design of spaces—and unintentionally—through the human experience of nature. Throughout history, sacred spaces receive their meaning through the programmed activities of faith groups or are given meaning by those groups because of their location.”
As with all facets of health, spiritual health is both dynamic and systemic. Meaning, it functions both independently and in concert with the other facets of health. Given that interwoven relationship, in order to have healthy communities, spiritual health must be a part of that and not only as the responsibility of the different faith-based institutions. One of the best ways to do that is to have spaces that can take on multiple meanings and interpretations, depending on our experiences there. Reflection groves are one implementation that can fit that need.